Compliments, Stewardship, and Control

complimenting other women

Compliments are controversial around these parts. I’m a fan of both giving and receiving them, and feel that doing so is beneficial. But I’ve heard you folks say time and again that compliments can be tricky, confusing, even painful depending on how they’re presented and how the person receiving them interprets them.

Since I am fascinated by all things style and body image, the compliments I tend to encourage have to do with those two topics. And what I’ve learned is that when some people are told, “You look great today,” what they hear is, “You look better today than you usually look.” That when some people are told, “You’ve got gorgeous hair,” they feel uncomfortable accepting praise for something that is genetic, inherited, and mainly beyond their control. That when some people are told, “You look fabulous in that dress,” they feel the underlying implication is, “You have conformed to social beauty norms. Good job.” read more

Originally posted 2012-09-11 06:20:25.

Reader Request: Finding Fun and Warm Winter Tops

brands for warm winter tops

This suggestion came from Eternal*Voyageur:

I would love suggestions for finding warm winter tops / knits. Most of the stuff is sooo boring: either simple figure-hugging long-sleeved blouses, or knits that are either shapeless or again body-hugging.

When I graduated from college, I had a vast collection of long-sleeved t-shirts. I was so self-conscious about my body’s shape that I shied away from layering, assuming that adding more garments to my outfits would automatically add more bulk to my frame. Since then, I’ve learned to layer without lumps and also discovered that my own favorite cold-weather looks are generally layered: Jacket or cardigan, inner layer, scarf, jeans, boots. Most of my winter tops aren’t terribly exciting on their own because they’re meant to be part of a group! But I do have some ideas and tips for finding eye-catching, cozy winter tops. read more

Originally posted 2012-11-14 06:17:38.

Reader Request: Styling Knee Socks and Leg Warmers

how to wear knee socks

Kaitlin threw this doozy into the suggestion box:

Knee socks and leg warmers!!! I love them, but how to wear them? They’re great casually, but I’d like to figure out how to work them a little more professionally–can I? I like them with tights or leggings, but then they tend to make my legs look really weird.

And let me tell you, friends, I had to scour the archives to find an outfit in which I’d utilized knee socks. I also unearthed this one, which is pretty similar to the above, but that’s about it. All this to say that I don’t consider myself a bona-fide expert on knee socks OR legwarmers, and hope you can all chime in with your own suggestions. read more

Originally posted 2012-10-09 06:13:19.